S. Korea Says Papers

Prove War Crimes

SEOUL -- South Korean officials said documents declassified on Friday offer proof that the Japanese government remains legally responsible for crimes it committed during its 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean Peninsula, including forcing Korean women into sexual slavery.

The documents stem from secret talks between South Korea and Japan in 1951 and 1965, which led to the establishment of diplomatic ties and a Japanese payment of $800 million in compensation to South Korea.

In a statement, the South Korean prime minister's office said it would pursue efforts to force Japan to take responsibility for what it says were crimes against humanity committed before and during World War II.

"The illegal activities against humanity, including the issue of comfort women, committed by the Japanese government and army cannot be seen as resolved by the [1965] treaty," the statement said. Comfort women is a euphemism for the estimated 200,000 women, most of them Koreans, who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese occupation army.


* ROME -- A suspect in the failed July 21 London bombings who was arrested in Rome appealed an Italian court's extradition ruling, saying he feared "heightened tension" in Britain might affect proceedings against him, his attorney said.

Hamdi Issac was ordered extradited to Britain by a court in Rome this month. His attorney, Antonietta Sonnessa, filed an appeal with Italy's highest court, arguing that she had not received a British analysis of the contents of the bag Issac carried onto a subway. Her client maintains it contained a mixture of flour and a liquid hair product and was not meant to kill.

* HELSINKI -- Finland's Agriculture Ministry said it had found a possible outbreak of bird flu in seagulls in the northern town of Oulu, but said it was probably not the highly pathogenic strain that has caused deaths in Asia.


* HANOI -- Bird flu has killed three rare, catlike civets born in captivity at a national park in Vietnam, marking the first time the virus has been reported in the species, officials said.

"It's another good example of how dangerous this thing is," said Scott Roberton, technical adviser for the civet conservation program at the Cuc Phuong National Park, about 75 miles south of Hanoi, the capital.

* ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- A military court sentenced five men to death for their roles in a 2003 plot to kill the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, an army spokesman said.

The men, one of whom was a soldier, were arrested after suicide bombers tried to ram two explosives-laden vehicles into Musharraf's motorcade on a road in Rawalpindi, near the capital, Islamabad, on Dec. 25, 2003, said Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan. Sixteen people, most of them presidential guards, were killed.


* CARACAS, Venezuela -- The government has temporarily suspended permits for foreign missionaries after an American evangelist advocated assassinating President Hugo Chavez.

The announcement came four days after the evangelist, Pat Robertson, called on his television show for the assassination of Chavez, a former soldier who has often accused the United States of plotting to kill him.


* BUJUMBURA, Burundi -- Former Hutu rebel leader Pierre Nkurunziza became president and pledged to make his nation an African example by building on its success in ending a 12-year civil war that killed 300,000.

The inauguration of Nkurunziza, although opposed by many of the country's ethnic Tutsi minority, was seen as an important step forward for the small, central African nation of 7 million, battered by war, ethnic division and poverty.

the middle east

* JERUSALEM -- A Jewish settler who set herself on fire to protest the Gaza withdrawal died of her injuries, hospital officials said. She is the sole Israeli fatality linked to a plan that had polarized public opinion.

The woman, identified by police as a West Bank settler in her sixties, was stopped at a roadblock outside the occupied coastal strip on Aug. 17. Prevented from reaching Gaza settlements ahead of their evacuation, she doused herself with fuel and set fire to herself.

-- From News Services